Saturday, 29 July 2017

BLOG TOUR ~ It Was Only Ever You by Kate Kerrigan

Hi Everyone,

Today is my stop on the Blog Tour for It Was Only Ever You by Kate Kerrigan where I welcome Kate to my blog where she's kindly provided an extract from her latest novel. I was thrilled to be asked by Clare Gordon from Head of Zeus Books to take part along with some other fab book bloggers. You can find out who else is taking part in this fabulous Blog Tour at the end of the extract so without further ado, here it is:

Sheila had bought a record the year before called ‘Crazy Man Crazy’ by a white kid called Bill Haley. The record had a wild beat, and she liked it. So when she heard that this kid from Michigan had just got a regular gig in New Jersey in a dance bar, she decided to go and check him out.
  As soon as Sheila walked in the door she could tell this was a country bar. Not her scene at all. Nice girls in pretty dresses with full skirts – boys in Sunday-best shirts and slacks. Not as formal as the ballrooms – but all white. She got a drink and stood at the small bar and watched the crowd. As they waited, Sheila could feel their excitement in the air. But then, she thought, country people always got a bit excited when they were out. Eventually, a bunch of white boys came on stage. The chubby front man had a big smile and a cowlick in his hair. They all wore long, tartan jackets and dicky bows. Pure hick. The singer was carrying a guitar and as he closed his eyes and reached his head back to release the first note, Sheila braced herself for the cowboy yodel. What came out surprised her more than anything else she had ever heard. As the band broke into ‘Rock Around the Clock’, her hips started to swing.

Sheila was a cautious dancer. In the jazz clubs, she never felt she belonged on the dance floor. She sat, clicking her fingers, tapping her feet, smoking laconically, enjoying the music that way. But with this new, strange rockabilly sound she found her hips were swaying from side to side at a speed that felt fast – too fast – and yet she was compelled to move in a way that felt utterly natural. It was as if the beat had injected her, and everyone else there, with a kind of electricity. Her body seemed to understand what to do in a way it had never done before now. By the time the lead singer roared out ‘put your glad rags on’, Sheila had grabbed the hand of the nearest stranger, not noticing or caring who he was, and was allowing herself to be swung and twirled around the floor in his expert grip, her feet stamping out the one-two beat as if she were born with it inside her.

  Then, as Sheila moved around the floor like a wildcat she realized she had heard this very song being played before. It was a proto-rock song called ‘Rock the Joint’ that she had as a Jimmy Preston recording. She had always enjoyed the beat of it and yet she had never actually danced to it before. However, the way these hillbilly boys were playing the tune she simply had no choice but to dance. It was like a tribal drum, as if something old and terribly familiar was instructing her to get ‘with it’. When the song ended her body was hungry for more and she joined the crowd in baying for Bill and his Comets to play it again, and again. Three times the crowd danced to that tune as if they had never heard it before. While the band took a break, Sheila leaned against the wall, and it hit her like a thunderbolt. This was black music for white kids. These hillbilly kids and their crazy white R&B could change the world.

Tuesday, 11 July 2017

BLOG TOUR ~ The Importance Of Being Me by Caroline Grace-Cassidy

Hi Everyone,

Today is my stop on the final day of the Blog Tour for The Importance Of Being Me by Caroline Grace-Cassidy where I welcome Caroline to my blog where I've got a review. I was thrilled to be asked by Lina Langlee from Black & White Publishing to take part along with some other fab book bloggers. You can find out who else has taken part in this fabulous Blog Tour at the end of the review so without further ado, here it is:

With huge thanks to Black & White Publishing, I received a copy of this in exchange for an honest review......

When was the last time you put yourself first?

Meet Courtney Downey who is a thirty-eight-year-old divorcee and she has no idea who she is anymore.  She has a fifteen year old named Susan who is mad into the celebrity-obsessed, Snapchat-filtered teenage world but Courtney can't understand this kind of world and sadly they’re growing apart. But when Susan announces that she wants to live with her Dad, David and his new and much younger girlfriend, Courtney is beyond devastated. But could the end of one life be the beginning of another?

When Courtney is offered a job in beautiful, sun-kissed St. Ives in Cornwall, she and her bubbly best friend Claire whom has her own issues follow their hearts and leave their problems behind for a summer of sand, sea and second chances. And when she meets sexy but infuriating builder Tony, Courtney rediscovers her passions for life, for cooking and for love.

Just as Courtney is finally looking to the future, a crisis with Susan pulls her back to Dublin, and back into old habits. Will she ever be able to let go of the past and embrace the importance of being herself?

Well,I didn't like this, I absolutely LOVED it.  It is all about taking chances, following your heart and has made me think about putting myself first for a change.  It is a very bittersweet and heart-warming read, the story flows really well throughout the book. I loved the interactions of Susan and her Mum Courtney, it reminded me so much of me at that age growing up thinking I knew everything at fifteen. Ashamedly I admit that this is the first book I've read by Caroline and I really enjoyed Caroline's latest book which I read in less than 2 days, it kept me turning the pages until the very end. This story had it all a little bit of humor, love, family, friendship, protectiveness to more sensitive issues - I found I had a little tear in my eye at the end along with shedding a few along the way, so grab this book, curl up on the couch with a glass of wine and a box of chocolates and prepare to have a few lump in your throat moments too. It definitely didn't disappoint. I will definitely be reading more of Caroline's books and you should too.

The Importance Of Being Me is available from all good bookstores and on Kindle and is currently £2.84 at the time of publication if this review.

Saturday, 1 July 2017

BLOG TOUR ~ The Boneyard by Mark Sennen

Hi Everyone,

Today is my stop on the Blog Tour for The Boneyard by Mark Sennen where I welcome Mark to my blog where he's kindly provided an extract from his latest novel. I was thrilled to be asked by Sabah Khan from Avon Books to take part along with some other fab book bloggers. You can find out who else is taking part in this fabulous Blog Tour at the end of the extract so without further ado, here it is:

‘Now, you’re going to run.’ Once again he waved the gun, this time in the direction of the treeline some thirty paces from the track. ‘I’ll give you a hundred seconds head start and then I’m coming to find you. And when I do, you’ll lie still and we’ll have some fun, right?’
‘You don’t have to do this. You don’t—’
‘Oh, but I do.’ The man smiled. ‘And I’m going to start counting now. If I was you, I wouldn’t waste a second. Not. A. Second. Of course, it’s your choice. One, two, three . . .’
Which was when she’d scrambled down the scree at the side of the track, cutting her feet on the sharp stones, before disappearing into the shadows beneath the tall trees. She’d half expected to hear a shot, feel a bullet implant itself between her shoulder blades. But she’d reached the treeline unharmed, stumbling into the quiet of the forest, the only sounds that of her breathing and her feet rustling in the dead wood and leaves as she scampered away from him as fast as she could. 
Now she’s worn out, the huge tree not just something to hide behind, but something to cling to, to slump against as she tries to recover her breath. She doesn’t know how far she’s run, only that it’s all been downhill. Twice she’d fallen and sprawled in the soft loam, tumbling over and over. The hundred seconds are long gone and now he must be coming after her. She wonders about heading off to the right or left and following the contours. Perhaps that might confuse him. At least the change of direction would give her a fifty-fifty chance.
She pushes herself away from the tree and bears off to the right. She trots along a narrow animal trail which weaves among the sequoias. At each trunk she pauses for a moment to listen. There’s nothing. She moves on. She pauses again. Nothing.
Up ahead a gash of grey stone slices through the hillside. She walks forward to where a ravine blocks the trail. The sides are steep and the bare rock sharp. There’s no way across. She has to turn left and forge her way downhill once more.
She catches her foot on a bare root and trips again, rolling in the dirt before pushing herself up and following the edge of the ravine towards the valley bottom. Down, down, down through the lines of trees until all of a sudden the rocks spill out onto a flat plateau. The trees are fewer here, but taller. And they’re still watching. Watching over . . .
She shivers at the sight. Dozens of rusting automobiles lie scattered amongst the trees. Several trucks. A school bus with yellow paint peeling away from decaying panelling. An old sedan has a wide grille and empty holes where the headlamps have fallen out. Like the trees, the car is watching. Next to the sedan, a young sapling sprouts from the bed of a pickup. Where there are no vehicles, scrub creeps across the ground. Snaking through the scrub are pathways where the vegetation has been cut back. Someone comes here. Someone tends this place. 
She steps forward, a glimmer of hope rising within. She reaches for the cross again. Perhaps her prayers have been answered. Perhaps this isn’t the wilderness after all, but a park somewhere on the edge of a town. As if in answer to her thoughts, a figure steps from behind one of the metal husks. In the shade of the trees she can’t make out his features, but he’s not as tall as the man who kidnapped her. He’s older, too. Her heart begins to pound, sensing a relief from her troubles.
‘Help me!’ she shouts out to her saviour. She begins to trot over towards the man, winding her way along one of the paths. The man nods, a smile forming on his lips. She realises she must be quite a sight. Her dress torn up the side and front, her body half smeared with mud and leaves. She crosses her arms, trying to cover herself. ‘I’ve been attacked. Help me!’
‘Sure, lass,’ the man says, his accent strange and unfamiliar. His smile grows and she feels his eyes feasting on her exposed flesh. ‘No problem.’
She slows as she reaches him. Hesitates now she’s just a few steps away. She turns to look over her shoulder, but there’s no sight of her pursuer. And when she turns back, the older man fades from view, stepping deep into the shade of a tree.
‘Hello?’ She slides forward on the grass. ‘Please help me!’
‘Found you!’